Metabolic Remodeling of Membrane Glycerolipids in the Microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica under Nitrogen Deprivation

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The lack of lipidome analytical tools has limited our ability to gain new knowledge about lipid metabolism in microalgae, especially for membrane glycerolipids. An electrospray ionization mass spectrometry-based lipidomics method

The lack of lipidome analytical tools has limited our ability to gain new knowledge about lipid metabolism in microalgae, especially for membrane glycerolipids. An electrospray ionization mass spectrometry-based lipidomics method was developed for Nannochloropsis oceanica IMET1, which resolved 41 membrane glycerolipids molecular species belonging to eight classes. Changes in membrane glycerolipids under nitrogen deprivation and high-light (HL) conditions were uncovered. The results showed that the amount of plastidial membrane lipids including monogalactosyldiacylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, and the extraplastidic lipids diacylglyceryl-O-4′-(N, N, N,-trimethyl) homoserine and phosphatidylcholine decreased drastically under HL and nitrogen deprivation stresses. Algal cells accumulated considerably more digalactosyldiacylglycerol and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerols under stresses. The genes encoding enzymes responsible for biosynthesis, modification and degradation of glycerolipids were identified by mining a time-course global RNA-seq data set. It suggested that reduction in lipid contents under nitrogen deprivation is not attributable to the retarded biosynthesis processes, at least at the gene expression level, as most genes involved in their biosynthesis were unaffected by nitrogen supply, yet several genes were significantly up-regulated. Additionally, a conceptual eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) biosynthesis network is proposed based on the lipidomic and transcriptomic data, which underlined import of EPA from cytosolic glycerolipids to the plastid for synthesizing EPA-containing chloroplast membrane lipids.